Along with the launch of Nissan’s electric vehicle, the LEAF, came an opportunity for the company to expand its labor force. In order to produce the 2011 Nissan LEAF, Nissan needed to manufacture lithium-ion batteries (the main power source for the electric vehicle) – a practice that Nissan’s standard manufacturing plants were unable to perform.
So in order to produce the much needed batteries Nissan decided to open a new lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. Ground was broken for the plant this past week and, in just a few short months, the plant will soon be open … creating over 1,300 jobs! That’s right, I said: 1,300 jobs!
The Smyrna plant will be 1.3 million square feet and will have a maximum capacity of producing around 200,000 batteries a year – this makes the plant one of the largest vehicle battery manufacturing plants in North America! In 2012 the plant will begin to manufacturing the body of the Nissan LEAF, in addition to the lithium-ion batteries. Nissan anticipates that the plant will produce around 150,000 LEAF vehicles in a given year.
In just a few short days Nissan has already received over 13,000 orders for its 2011 LEAF!
This is both a wonderful and scary idea for Nissan. On the one hand, it is a huge honor & blessing that over 13,000 people want a Nissan LEAF, but on the other hand Nissan does not have the production capacity for that many new vehicles. It only anticipated that under 12,000 vehicles would be produced by the December delivery date, and now that the 13,000 have already been ordered, Nissan is well over that prediction.
So, in order to make sure that all of the people who want a LEAF, get a LEAF in a timely manner, Nissan is looking into adding production capacity. I will keep you updated with more information on this as I hear more!
Early next year Hertz will be adding the all electric Nissan LEAF to its line-up of rental cars available in the US and Europe.
The car will start out in select cities, and then gradually grow to a larger span of places. The first cities in the US will be in the
California area (thats where the Toyota Prius did the best when it was introduced into the Hertz line-up).
Be on the look out for them! Renting a Nissan LEAF from Hertz for a day or two is a great way to test drive the vehicle and see if it is for you!